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RE: A precedent suggesting a compromise for the SWHCLS IG Best Practices (ARK)

From: Booth, David (HP Software - Boston) <dbooth@hp.com>
Date: Mon, 14 Aug 2006 10:08:46 -0400
Message-ID: <EBBD956B8A9002479B0C9CE9FE14A6C20B93D0@tayexc19.americas.cpqcorp.net>
To: "Paul Prescod" <paul@prescod.net>, "Alan Ruttenberg" <alanruttenberg@gmail.com>
Cc: <www-tag@w3.org>

> From: Paul Prescod
> . . .
> Recognition of something like ark syntax could be baked into
> future Web and semantic web standards. The key idea seems
> to me to be the embedding of a globally unique identifier
> inside of an "actionable" address. I think that it would help
> people get past the mental block that makes them think that
> if an identifier is actionable then it must exist primarily
> to invoke an action. Ark says: "Yes, there is an actionable
> part and it exists primarily for its action. And there is an
> identifier part. It exists primarily for identifying." Ark
> requires the identifier part to be opaque which is stricter
> than is necessary on the web in general. I think it might be
> useful to have a syntax like this baked into the Web.

Even without being baked in, http URIs could do this without requiring
software to know in advance about all of the actionable portions the
different URIs use.  When an http URI is discovered, the URI can point
to metadata that tells software how to strip the actionable portion from
the URI to obtain the globally unique identifier.  

About a year ago I described how this can be done in the context of
minting URIs using thing-described-by.org (or t-d-b.org), but of course
the same technique can be applied to anything else:

For example, suppose site example.org decides to use the t-d-b.org
redirect service for the URIs in its color ontology, and it mints the
following URIs:


When you come across the first URI,
you want to learn more about it, so you do a GET on it, and the
t-d-b.org server does a 303-redirect to
You then retrieve the RDF document from that URI, and among other
interesting information, you read the following RDF assertion

			http://t-d-b.org? .

which asserts that documents under http://example.org/concepts/ may use
http://t-d-b.org?" as a an absolute indirection prefix.

I also mentioned this technique in my FAQ on "Converting New URI Schemes
or URN Sub-Schemes to HTTP":

David Booth, Ph.D.
HP Software
Phone: +1 617 629 8881
Received on Monday, 14 August 2006 14:09:15 UTC

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